Coming off of their Week 11 loss to the Carolina Panthers 20-0 and a Week 12 matchup with the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving Day, the Detroit Lions have a very limited time to right the ship. One name that the team and fantasy football managers will have their eye on is RB D’Andre Swift, and whether or not he is going to be playing or if his injury will keep him sidelined for a second week. Missing last week with a concussion, Swift hopes to pass the necessary tests to get back on the field. If he is playing, what can be expected out of D’Andre Swift, and who would be the next player likely to benefit if the rookie out of Georgia being on the sidelines again?
Update November 26: D’Andre Swift has been officially ruled out of the Detroit Lions Week 12 Thanksgiving matchup. Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson are expected to split the carries in his absence.
D’Andre Swift logs a limited practice on Tuesday
According to Field Yates of ESPN, Lions RB D’Andre Swift (concussion) was upgraded to a limited participant in their estimated practice report on Tuesday, giving him a chance to play on Thursday.
The Detroit Lions did not practice on Monday, but D’Andre Swift wouldn’t have participated if they did. The Lions’ Monday injury report estimated that the rookie running back wouldn’t have been able to take the field due to his injury.
After missing last weeks’ game, this is great news. As it says, it does not mean D’Andre Swift is going to play, only that it is progress. It’s one thing when a player is dealing with an injury; it’s a different level of caution when it involves the brain, like what D’Andre Swift is currently working through. There is no timeline, and no concussion or brain injury heals the same, so until he passes the NFL concussion protocol, including third-party neurological testing and evaluations, Swift will remain on the sidelines.
D’Andre Swift seemed to have turned the corner on the backfield before his injury
We finally saw the D’Andre Swift we hoped for in Week 10. The one that head coach Matt Patricia has been hiding behind a 35-year old Adrian Peterson and a running back who has been playing with knee issues since high school.
In Week 10, Swift looked dominant in all facets of the game. He rushed 16 times for 81 yards while catching all five targets for 68 yards and adding a touchdown. His 73% snap share was by far the best he has seen all season. The best part about this performance was that both Peterson and Kerryon Johnson combined for only five carries and one reception. However, it has not always been this way in Detroit.
Peterson has nearly as many rushes as Swift and Johnson combined (104 to 106) while also leading the backfield in rushing yards with 389. But other than the inefficient force-feeding of Peterson, Swift has been the running back when he is playing.
Swift blows Peterson out of the water in terms of efficiency with a 4.7 yards per attempt average to his 3.7. Swift has also faced a stacked box (8+ men in the box) on 27.14% of his rushes compared to Peterson’s 25.96. When you look at what their actual yardage is when compared to what would be expected according to NFL Next Gen stats, Swift is at +25 yards compared to -63 for Peterson. Of qualified running backs, Peterson is third-worst in the NFL.
What can be expected from D’Andre Swift if he is playing on Thanksgiving Day?
If D’Andre Swift can put the injury in the rearview mirror, he is a borderline RB1 this week against the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving Day.
The Lions listed 16 people on their injury report, including Kenny Golladay and TJ Hockenson, so they are already going to be hurting on play-makers. After what Swift did against one of the better defenses in the NFL, he could have a feast (pun intended) against the Houston Texans, who allow the third-most points to the running back at 30.74 per game.
Teams love to rush the ball against them, and it shows as they have faced the most RB carries in the NFL (271) and are giving up the most yards on the season (1,458). From a per carry average, their 5.38 blows out the rest of the NFL as no other team is above a 4.76 yards per carry average. Throw in the third-most rushing touchdowns allowed at 12, and Swift could have another massive day rushing if given the reins of the backfield. The Texans also allow 36.9 yards per game through the air for 9.0 per catch, a part of Swift’s game that was most refined coming into the NFL.
It’s hard to see a path in this game that D’Andre Swift sees less than 16-18 opportunities so long as he is playing this week. You would think that Patricia saw what we all did and will go with his gut rather than go back to the committee approach that has not been successful all season.
Want more fantasy football analysis and news?
Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also seeing our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.